KIDY-TV, the San Angelo Fox affiliate television station, has sold for the second time in two years.
The McLean, Virginia-based Gannett Co., Inc. owner of the famed USA Today newspaper said in a Wednesday press release that it has agreed to acquire six of London Broadcasting Company’s Texas television stations. Among them are San Angelo’s KIDY-TV and Abilene’s KXVA-TV.
These San Angelo and Abilene stations were acquired by London in January 2013. They purchased the stations from Dejuan McCoy’s Bayou Broadcasting Company, LLC out of Houston. McCoy purchased the stations in 2008.
With the purchase of KIDY in 2013, London’s messaging then was that their intention is to take the station to new levels. London purchased the old bank building on South Chadbourne. Late last year, KIDY moved the station from the tired old building on the banks of the Concho River on South Irving Street, into the brand new studios in the renovated bank. Just after the move in February 2014, the local staff at KIDY launched their 9 p.m. local news coverage.
Selling KIDY so soon after the building purchase and move, and after upgrading the news product, is quite odd.
However, London CEO Terry London explained the decision in a letter to employees today:
“Phil [Hurley, London's partner] and I had no intention of selling at this time. In fact, we spent much of 2013 trying to buy more stations to continue our vision of building a Texas group with broad reach. Recently, I received an unsolicited call that led to the announcement today,” London wrote.
The press release this morning said that the buy-sell agreement is a $215 million, all cash transaction. Gannett will be purchasing all of London’s television stations that have affiliates, like Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Two unaffiliated stations, KTXD-TV in Dallas and KCEB-TV in Longview will remain in London’s portfolio.
In a previous deal earlier this year, Gannett purchased the Belo portfolio, including the Dallas flagship WFAA-TV, an ABC affiliate. The deal with London will gain Gannett a footing in middle markets like San Angelo and Abilene.
Gannett said in their press release that the London acquisition gives it access into local markets to sell its digital marketing products (or, local Internet advertising) called G/O Digital.
G/O Digital is the umbrella division of Gannett that includes ShopLocal, BlinQ, PointRoll, DealChicken, Key Ring and Clipper Magazine.
London's Phil Hurley will move to Gannett and run Gannett's Texas portfolio of stations after merger is complete, pending FCC approval, sometime this summer.